Think Big with IAN
Tim Johnson - Account Director

The Intelligent Award Navigator: Time to Think Big about Your Award Scenarios!

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In my last article, I took you on a deep dive into the amazing power of Sourcing Optimizer to evaluate tens, or even hundreds of thousands, of supplier, item, bid and non-price factors in seconds to deliver an optimal award solution for complex categories in seconds. But research and development never stops at JAGGAER. So, we asked our customers how we could make the scenario analysis power of Sourcing Optimizer even better. Their response: “Help me explore the sourcing options that I haven’t even considered.”

Optimized scenario analysis is extremely powerful, but often it’s used to evaluate a set of known preferences, such as awarding business to suppliers with certain attributes, or reducing risk by focusing on specific risk factors. With the right tool, sourcing teams can make quick work of creating scenario rules and finding the optimal award scenario. But what remains hidden behind the scenes are all of the alternative scenarios where more value could be created, or more risk averted – the scenarios not yet considered.

Delivering the next level of intelligence in sourcing decisions, Sourcing Optimizer gained the ability to consider scenarios not yet considered with the introduction of Intelligent Award Navigator, or IAN. IAN leverages artificial intelligence (AI) and advanced game theory to uncover the hidden options available to buyers within their award scenarios. In essence, IAN provides a guiding hand to sourcing teams by showing them other options for awarding their business within the constraints and preferences they have already identified.

IAN does this by presenting two options to the user, both of which meet the scenario rules it has been given and asking the user which option they prefer. It learns what is more important to the user, and favors that preference in the next scenario run, again presenting two alternatives. This is an iterative process, where IAN is constantly asking “What is optimal for this user?”, and transforming what it learns into meaningful recommendations. IAN guides the user to think bigger and more strategically about the award outcome they most desire, each time presenting new options with different results to achieve a closer match.

Veteran users of Sourcing Optimizer have embraced this new ability to explore and uncover award alternatives for their most complex sourcing events. But IAN has also shown new users how to “think big” about award scenarios, removing some of the apprehension common for the uninitiated, by helping users to narrow in on a solution when they are not entirely sure what solution they are looking for. IAN’s guidance helps them to take advantage of the power of optimization to its fullest, becoming the next big step towards simplifying the complexity of sourcing decisions at a grand scale.

What is really unique about IAN is that it is an intelligent, automated capability driven by specialized algorithms and problem solvers inside a product that is already fast and highly configurable to the specific needs of each and every category and organization. One of the most innovative components of IAN is that it narrows in on possible solutions “asynchronously”, that is to say, it explores all the options while the user is free to perform other tasks, sending the user a notification when it is ready to present the next choice or solution. IAN is mobile-friendly so the user could even receive and respond to the notification while on the go, out of the office, on a lunch break, or commuting homeward. This represents another huge step on JAGGAER’s path towards autonomous sourcing and procurement: driven by specialized algorithms but under the full control of the human operator for maximum ROI and optimal user experience.

We’ll be publishing more about IAN in the near future so watch this space!

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